A German teen missing since last year is one of the 20 foreign females Iraqi authorities arrested earlier this month for suspected involvement with the self-described-Islamic State, authorities announced Saturday.
A prosecutors office in Dresden confirmed suspicions that Linda W., a 16-year-old German girl who went missing from her hometown of Pulsnitz in July 2016, was one of the foreigners Iraqi forces captured in Mosul shortly after declaring victory in the battle to retake the city.
The teen spoke to a reporter working for the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and broadcasters NDR and WDR from the infirmary of a military complex in the Iraqi capital Baghdad. She was reportedly recovering from a gunshot wound to the thigh.
“I just want to leave,” Linda W. told the reporter in Baghdad. “I want to get out of the war, away from the many weapons, the noise.”
The girl also said she regretted her decision to join ISIS.
Linda W. and the 19 other women and girls arrested stand accused of fighting for ISIS in Mosul. German authorities suspect Linda W. ran away to Turkey in July 2016, en route to Syria and then Iraq, to join the extremist group, but this has not been confirmed.
“Our information ends with the girl’s arrival in Istanbul about a year ago,” he said,” Dresden prosecutor in Lorenz Haase told reporters.
Authorities in Germany are investigating reports that four of the other women arrested are also German nationals.
The number of female ISIS recruits from Western countries is on the rise, and they now account for one in seven Western militants in Syria and Iraq, according to a 2016 report from the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think tank.
The women captured in Mosul are not the first suspected ISIS supporters to hail from Germany. According to a 2015 report in the German newspaper Die Zeit, more than 70 German females have reportedly fled to Syria and Iraq to join forced with ISIS.